Passan: Twins to Sign Catcher Alex Avila
Image courtesy of © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY SportsAs Passan noted, the catching market has developed quickly, so it's good to see the Twins lock down Jason Castro's replacement.
Speaking of Castro, Avila's skill set matches up nicely to the former Twins backstop. Avila is a left-handed hitting catcher who boasts a career .241/.358/.417 slash line (.775 OPS) against right-handed pitching.
It's not a perfect comp, as Castro has more power and is the better defender, but Avila will provide the Twins with a veteran presence who is adept at getting on base.
Avila is no stranger to the AL Central, as he spent the first seven years of his career with the Tigers, was with the White Sox in 2016 and then returned to Detroit in 17. Alex's father, Al Avila, is the current executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager of the Tigers.
He's been with the Diamondbacks the past two years, following up a disappointing 2018 with a solid performance last season. Among the 48 catchers with 200 plate appearances last season, Avila ranked fourth in OBP (.353), 15th in OPS (.774), 19th in wRC+ (97) and 23rd in WAR (1.3). Avila also graded out as a positive pitch framer for Arizona last year, trailing Castro by a small margin (3.2 FRM vs. 2.8 FRM, per FanGraphs).
Just a couple weeks ago, Cody Christie mentioned Avila as one of the underrated free agents who would be a good fit for the Twins.
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